by baldilocks

Today was one of those days when I didn’t know what I was going to write about until the last second. Then, “out of the blue,” God gave me something.

My deadline is always 400PM PST and I was a little panicky in my search for a topic, though the boss is very lenient about the deadline. Okay, he’s a lot lenient.

Nevertheless, I don’t like to take advantage of Peter’s easy-going nature.

Right in mid-search, someone knocks on my door. I’ll spare you my inner monologue in response. I get up to look through my door’s peephole and it’s my upstairs neighbor, Melinda — a very nice lady who never knocks on my door.

“Can you help me?” And before she tells me what she needs help with, I make my deadline excuse.

“Okay, she says, good-naturedly. She’s so nice about it that I feel bad.

“What do you need?”

“Can you help me take my groceries upstairs?”

That I could do. So, I come out into the foyer of the building and there are her two bags on the floor. I pick them up and they’re heavy, but not unsupportable. So, Melinda goes up the stairs in front of me carrying two bags also.

Melinda is a few years older than I am, but she is also more overweight than I am and can barely navigate the short one-flight stairway carrying two bags. But I had no problem whatsoever getting my two up the stairs. I just turned 57.

So, the points of this blurb is this: always help your neighbors, be thankful for your health and, most importantly, that God provides in mysterious ways if you let Him.

Thanks, God.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

Andrew Klavan:

One of my theories about the classic gangster television series The Sopranos is that creator David Chase recognized an important truth about the structure of TV storytelling. In normal stories, a protagonist is placed in a situation that uniquely challenges his character so that in traveling through the arc of the story he is transformed in comic or tragic ways. But in a TV series, the hero’s character is never really transformed — because otherwise the series would end — and he is doomed to repeat the same actions over and over without surcease. In short, he is in Hell, like the sinners in Dante’s Inferno who must repeat the same actions forever. Or like Tony Soprano.

Nowadays, watching the news, and reading social media, I feel a bit like Tony Soprano myself. A story breaks — a prominent person dies or there’s a mass shooting, for instance — and the exact same reactions appear on news media discussion panels and social media as the last time such a story occurred. Then these reactions fade away as we grow weary of hearing about the event. Then a similar event occurs and we all become embroiled in the exact same conversation. We never learn. We never change. We just do it again and again and again.

Examples used: the death of Senator John McCain and the Jacksonville shooting, naturally.

We get a few minutes of thoughts and prayers[.] Then the screaming starts over the Second Amendment. The nation’s media can’t even give the families of the dead one lousy day to grieve in peace before they are at each other’s throats.

Then the screaming fades. The news and social media move on. Until the next time, when it all starts again.

Andrew gets to his point and it’s a very good point, but the above preamble leads to mine.

It illustrates why I want to get off my backside and go visit my country and my countrymen. I’m tired of the social media treadmill, but not tired of the connection. So, I figured that it was time to do something that I hadn’t tried before. Personally, I think we could all benefit from some movement. Take that any way you wish.

Four more days and I’m on the road. If you want to help out, go here.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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An obvious pairing of concepts.

by baldilocks

I think we already knew this. How else to you think those ads are able to show you what you’ve just been shopping for?

While the public has been focused on the ongoing Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, Google has largely avoided public scrutiny about its data collection practices despite having the ability to collect far more personal data about consumers across a variety of touchpoints. There have been efforts to document individual practices by Google such as their efforts to circumvent controls on Safari.  More recently, an investigation by the Associated Press revealed that Google continues to track location data even after a consumer has turned off the setting.  While these research efforts have been important to the public policy dialogue, no research exists which looks at the breadth and depth of data collected by Google.

In “Google Data Collection,” Douglas C. Schmidt, Professor of Computer Science at Vanderbilt University, catalogs how much data Google is collecting about consumers and their most personal habits across all of its products and how that data is being tied together.

Listed are the key findings of the 55-page report (linked above) that one can download.

And people wonder why I sometimes leave my phone at home.

Even when I do that, however, I know that there are cameras everywhere here in Los Angeles and that it has been so for at least a decade. And I bet that they aren’t all government cameras.

We are surrounded by eyeballs, but I don’t fear it. That’s isn’t to say that something bad couldn’t happen due to the basic disappearance of privacy. It is to say that it doesn’t pay to be afraid of the intrusiveness.

Fear creates clouded thinking. It interferes with the clarity that is essential to finding a solution to this problem.

I am very far from ready to toss my devices in the trash, but I don’t want them in every aspect of my life either.

There is middle ground and it can be found. I’m sure of it.

In the meantime, however, watch your digital steps.

RELATED: Lock Your Doors

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

I plan on coming back to California after my upcoming Odyssey, but it’s easy to understand why this is happening.

Richer Americans are moving to the coasts while poorer families are relocating to the Rust Belt as part of a national gentrification trend that is dividing the haves and have-nots geographically, according to a new study.

The phenomenon is called ‘income sorting’ by a researcher at BuildZoom.com, and it means that the people who move to more expensive metropolises like New York and Los Angeles are increasingly wealthy, while those who are moving into more depressed inland cities are making less money than those who are leaving them behind.

‘What we are seeing happening is the population being separated into the haves and the have-nots,’ study author Issi Romem said. ‘The haves are increasingly being concentrated in the expensive coastal cities.’

The study uses San Francisco as an example, but costs are only part of the problem there, as we know.

The problem is exacerbated by high housing costs in coastal cities, where demand is high, supply is low and ‘homebuyers and renters in these metros compete with each other over a smaller housing stock, bidding up prices, and pushing out those who are the least financially able,’ the study said.

The result is that lower income people are then deterred from moving to those cities, further exacerbating the problem and creating a never-ending cycle of rising prices for the wealthy who are left behind. Eventually these cities could become unaffordable for all but the wealthiest Americans.

The reason I stayed here after losing my house in 2014 is the same reason I’m coming back after my trip: to be close to my church. And God has provided for me.

But I can’t blame anyone else for quitting CA and all the other socialist utopias around the nation. The Rust Belt is here.

And, personally, I think that many of the rich will wake up and leave, too. Or be trapped in the gilded cages.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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Like the pigs they are.

by baldilocks

Normally, I try to offer something that few other bloggers are talking about, but not this time.

I remain fascinated by the very existence of John Brennan, former director of the CIA, and his sense of entitlement to this country’s national security secrets. Even more riveting that his predecessors and peers obviously share this attitude.

You all do remember what I used to do for a living, right? Well, when I stopped doing it — in 1994 — my security clearance and access to information was revoked. Naturally.

And the same has been so for countless others who were granted access to classified information due to their jobs, but left their job positions for whatever reason.

But we were just worker bees. The recent screaming fit thrown by Brennan after President Trump revoked his access exposed that there are two sets of rules in the intelligence community: one for the lords and another for us serfs.

I suppose that I shouldn’t be shocked by it — especially after Hillary Clinton skated away from legal consequences for doing something that would have put me in jail — but I am.

The great thing about it all, however, is that President Trump’s

actions exposed this elite layer in the intelligence community to the world. When he announced his intent to yank Brennan’s clearance, Brennan and friends responded like Pavlov’s Dogs.

The list of former senior intelligence

The infamous James Clapper.

officials who signed the letter includes James Clapper, a former Director of National Intelligence, and seven CIA Directors including Robert Gates, William Webster, George Tenet, Porter Goss, Michael Hayden, Leon Panetta and David Petraeus.

There is more than one person on this list who I wouldn’t trust to walk my dog.

“As former senior intelligence officials, we feel compelled to respond in the wake of the ill-considered and unprecedented remarks and actions by the White House regarding the removal of John Brennan’s security clearances,” they wrote.

“We know John to be an enormously talented, capable, and patriotic individual who devoted his adult life to the service of this nation,” the letter continued.

“Insinuations and allegations of wrongdoing on the part of Brennan while in office are baseless,” it added.

Some of the officials who signed the letter noted that they may not side with Brennan’s comments or choose to go public with any comments, but “We all agree that the president’s action regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar action against other former officials has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances – and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech.

Emphasis mine. As if Brennan will need a security clearance to throw his next tantrum.

I don’t think that these IC elite puppets get that they and their ilk have been outed to the world, but I get it. And the great thing about it is that they did it to themselves by falling in line behind a POS like Brennan. I guess I expected them to be more circumspect about their privilege, being spooks and all.

Brennan must have something on all of them …

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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Same old story.

by baldilocks

Since yesterday, the latest in Donald Trump news is that former White House aide and Apprentice star Omarosa Manigault-Newman is about to publish a book — title: Unhinged — a tell-all on the Trump Administration. One of her accusations is that Donald Trump repeatedly used the n-word on the Apprentice set and that there is celluloid proof of it. Her stories have been inconsistent.

There’s so much sordidness coming off this story that I can smell it from here and I have no desire to recap the ping-pong ball revelations that pop up every few minutes.

This story does, however, have me thinking about a couple of concepts whose time has long past.

Loyalty. Allegiance.

Outside of our military, there are very few who give these concepts, these virtues any consideration at all, much less try to incorporate them into dealings with others. I said this ten years ago.

People who have been called into military service or volunteer for it seem to have a more visceral understanding of what disloyalty indicates — whether life and limb are at stake or not. (…)

Outside of the spiritual consequences [of betrayal], why are oath-breakers so hated? Because when you act decisively in any endeavor, you’re expecting those who promise to assist [you] to do just that.

“I’ve got your back.” That expression isn’t slang. It’s a short form of saying that you’re protecting another’s blind side—the back side; the “six”—of an ally, whether it’s a subordinate, a superior or an equal. Your liege (related to the word ‘allegiance’) is depending on you to indeed protect that back side; and when, instead, you turn around and stab him in that side, you become a thing to be despised by friend and foe alike. Or at least that’s how it used to be.

Because, after all, who could trust a person who would do such a thing? Everyone keeps their literal or figurative front side to such a person for quite some time; she “bears watching.” Earthly redemption can only sometimes be had and that’s after many deeds of repentance and the passage of time.

But breaking a trust seems to be no big deal anymore.

And that is what galls me about this Omarosa situation — yes, even more that the allegation of the usage of the n-word. Donald Trump has given this woman a job, not once, but twice. And, she does this?

I guess I shouldn’t be shocked, but it’s more than shocking. It’s like watching a drunken woman curse out a room full of dinner guests and then barf all over the food on the dinner table. You just want to turn away and get out the door.

On Twitter, I’ve speculated that Manigault-Newman might be playing a role for the president; that she’s keeping media eyes focused on her, and off the Administration. If that turns out to be so, both she and the president should win Oscars.

But I’m beginning to doubt that. Occam’s Razor.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

China in Africa.

Chinese corporations are all over Africa.  In June 2017 a McKinsey & Company report estimated that there are more than 10,000 Chinese-owned firms operating in Africa.

What are Chinese corporations doing in Africa? That’s a highly controversial issue.

The reason Chinese corporations are in Africa is simple; to exploit the people and take their resources. It’s the same thing European colonists did during mercantile times, except worse. The Chinese corporations are trying to turn Africa into another Chinese continent. They are squeezing Africa for everything it is worth.

This is the view several African politicians have. The Zambian politician Michael Sata was one of them. At least he was before being elected President of Zambia in 2011. He wrote a paper presented to Harvard University in 2007 that said “European colonial exploitation in comparison to Chinese exploitation appears benign, because even though the commercial exploitation was just as bad, the colonial agents also invested in social and economic infrastructure services Chinese investment, on the other hand, is focused on taking out of Africa as much as can be taken out, without any regard to the welfare of the local people.” (quoted in Scott D. Taylor’s “The Nature of Chinese Capital in Africa, Current History, May 2018, p. 197)

This is something on which I need to do a great deal more research.

I plan on asking my bio father — Philip Ochieng — about this. He edited the rather well-known book How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney. He and I think differently about a great many things, so that should be an interesting conversation or three.

Consider this post a place-holder and, possibly, a Part One.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

And now for something completely different.

Monika Glennon has lived in Huntsville, Alabama, for the last 12 years. Other than a strong Polish accent, she fits a certain stereotype of the All-American life. She’s blonde. Her husband is a veteran Marine. Her two children, a boy and a girl, joined the military as adults. She sells houses—she’s a real estate agent at Re/Max—helping others realize their own American dream.

But in September 2015, she was suddenly plunged into an American nightmare. She got a call at 6 a.m. one morning from a colleague at Re/Max telling her something terrible had been posted about her on the Re/Max Facebook page. Glennon thought at first she meant that a client had left her a bad review, but it turned out to be much worse than that.

It was a link to a story about Glennon on She’s A Homewrecker, a site that exists for the sole purpose of shaming the alleged “other woman.” The author of the Homewrecker post claimed that she and her husband had used Glennon as their realtor and that everything was going great until one evening when she walked in on Glennon having sex with her husband on the floor of a home the couple had been scheduled to see. The unnamed woman went into graphic detail about the sex act and claimed she’d taken photos that she used to get everything from her husband in a divorce. The only photo she posted though was Glennon’s professional headshot, taken from her bio page on Re/Max’s site.

Glennon’s clients and, most importantly, her husband were contacted about this through Facebook’s messaging system.

The allegations were totally false. The perpetrators did it because they didn’t like something that Glennon wrote in a random comment section. The comment was innocuous, but the perpetrator decided that Glennon was anti-Semitic. That line of justification is important.

I’ve been thinking about this story all morning — not with fear that something like this might happen to me, but pondering the notion that anyone with fairly decent story-telling skills could plot a similar type vengeance on anyone.

What, other than a conscience, is there to stop an individual — or an organization — from doing this?

About justification: once someone “reasons” it out in what passes for his mind that the target is “racist,” “sexist,” “homophobic,” or any of the other categories of Untouchable, conscience is no longer a factor.

The perp decides that you deserve to have stories made up about you and to have your reputation/livelihood/marriage ruined.

That’s what was so riveting to me about this story.

95,000 persons shared the story before Gannon was able to uncover the person who tried to ruin her.

And the perp did this over a misunderstood comment and the hurt feelings engendered from that misunderstanding.

How evil.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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One of them anyway …

by baldilocks

Well I guess I understand why the DHS is doing this, but

Federal air marshals have begun following ordinary US citizens not suspected of a crime or on any terrorist watch list and collecting extensive information about their movements and behavior under a new domestic surveillance program that is drawing criticism from within the agency.

The previously undisclosed program, called “Quiet Skies,” specifically targets travelers who “are not under investigation by any agency and are not in the Terrorist Screening Data Base,” according to a Transportation Security Administration bulletin in March.

The internal bulletin describes the program’s goal as thwarting threats to commercial aircraft “posed by unknown or partially known terrorists,” and gives the agency broad discretion over which air travelers to focus on and how closely they are tracked.

It is a time-consuming and costly assignment, they say, which saps their ability to do more vital law enforcement work.

TSA officials, in a written statement to the Globe, broadly defended the agency’s efforts to deter potential acts of terror. But the agency declined to discuss whether Quiet Skies has intercepted any threats, or even to confirm that the program exists.

I’m guessing ‘no’ and ‘yes.’

Between this, and the TSA activities — x-rays and groping … er … pat-downs — I’ll pass on flying when I can. I have a choice with my upcoming trip and I choose the ground, along with a relative bit of freedom.

From those who don’t know what I’m talking about, go here. And, yes, one Peter Ingemi is on my list of persons to visit.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar for his new not-GoDaddy host!

Or hit Juliette’s!

by baldilocks

Anatomy of mass psychosis.

For the past two years, a particular power group has sought to explain away its loss of power – or rather, its loss of the Presidency, as it still holds a predominance of institutional power – by creation of a myth. Mainstream media is known for its herd behavior, and in this case the editors, commentators, journalists have talked themselves into a story that initially they themselves could hardly take seriously.

Donald Trump was elected by Russia? (…)

The Russians could do nothing to build support for Trump, and there is not a hint of evidence that they tried. They might have done something to harm Hillary, because there was so much there: the private server emails, the Clinton foundation, the murder of Moammer Gaddafi, the call for a no-fly zone in Syria … they didn’t have to invent it. It was there. So was the hanky panky at the Democratic National Committee, on which the Clintonite accusations focus, perhaps to cause everyone to forget much worse things. (…)

[A]fter two years of fakery, to send the establishment into a frenzy of accusations of “treason” when Trump does what he said he would do while campaigning, try to normalize relations with Russia.

Emphasis mine.

‘The writer — Diana Johnstone — goes much further and it’s worth the read.

As most readers of this blog and of baldilocks blog know, I voted for Donald Trump while holding my nose after being very critical of candidate Trump and suspicious of his motives for running. However, the president has not given me any reason to regret that decision, though I’m not in agreement with everything he has done while in office.

I understand legitimate, reasoned, and researched criticism of any president. For the most part, however, that’s not what we are seeing from his critics. We are seeing insanity.

It’s fascinating to watch as the Organized Left and perennial Never-Trumpers flip out over things like

  • The president being nice to Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki Summit. The word treason was tossed about as if the tossers had conjured a new definition of the word. Did they expect President Trump to call a rap battle during the press conference?
  • The president referring to the savage, demonic Legion called MS-13 as ‘animals.’
  • Yesterday’s reason for throwing a collective fit: White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announces that security clearances for former high-ranking Obama Administration officials will be revoked — as if that isn’t standard procedure for worker bees who are no longer in the position where a security clearance is required. Former CIA director John Brennan is at the head of the list of people who will lose their clearances, as well he should be.

Read the whole thing.

Johnstone refers to this prevailing mindset as dementia, but that implies a certain innocence. Victor Davis Hanson’s indictment contains nothing of the sort.

You’ll want to read that one, too.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar for his new not-GoDaddy host!

Or hit Juliette’s!